The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Drones

The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Drones

Drones are amazing little machines that you can use for a variety of purposes. You can zip them around outside for fun or take dazzling aerial pictures. 

People in a variety of job fields, from real estate agents to military personnel, use them. Before you go shopping, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the different types of drones and learn what they can do. 

If you don’t, you may end up buying a drone with a bunch of extra features that you don’t need. We can help you avoid wasting your money. Keep reading to learn more about the different drone models. 

Single-Rotor 

When you think of drones, your mind most likely goes to the single-rotor ones. They’re one of the most basic drone models, and as the name suggests, they only have one rotor. 

They have more of a thrust than the multi-rotor models, which means you’ll get a bit more flight out of them in a single session. Single-rotor models are a bit larger than most other drones on the market, making them a little difficult to operate. 

This being said, they’re not the best option for beginners. They have long blades that can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a good idea to get some training under your belt before you turn on one of these drones. 

Since they’re only working with one rotor, it’s not easy to balance them. You may struggle a bit to keep them airborne. Due to the complex inner workings of the device, they can be expensive to buy as well. 

Multi-Rotor 

Multi-rotor drones are also pretty common. They’re used a lot in industrial settings. They’re helpful for collecting map data and getting some sweet aerial footage. 

The ones with four rotors are the ones you see the most, but they aren’t the only option that you have. the multi-rotor models come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We will tell you that the more rotors a drone has, the more expensive it gets. 

Recreational Drones

If you want to use your device for funsies, recreational drones are the way to go. This doesn’t mean that every recreational drone is a toy plastic one. Fun means different things to different people. 

Your idea of enjoyment might be to take pictures and videos from the sky. If that’s the case, the cheap plastic drones with no camera won’t help you. 

If the only thing you want to do is zip it around in your yard, the inexpensive models that don’t have a ton of features will work fine.

Fixed-Wing 

Fixed-wing drones look like tiny airplanes. They have wings instead of rotors, and an internal engine that helps propel them through the air. 

They have a longer flight time than other types of drones on the market, making them useful for land surveying. They’re also great for delivery. A lot of times they’re used to send helpful supplies to remote places. 

The only drawback to these models is that they’re difficult to land because they don’t have a rotor. You have to set them down very gently, or it may result in a crash landing that damages the device. 

Fixed-Wing Hybrid

Fixed-wing hybrids combine the design for the fixed-wing models and the rotor ones. The rotors are secured to the ends of the wings. 

It’s important to note that these drones are still in the experimental stage. They aren’t commercially available yet, so you won’t be able to get your hands on one for a while. 

Commercial Drones

Commercial drones are a little more expensive than any of the recreational ones that you can buy. This is because they’re designed to suit a number of different purposes. They’ve got to be sturdy, and they’re packed full of features that drive the prices up. 

Real estate agents use them to take aerial pictures of houses that are available. If an insurance company needs information on a roof, the real estate agent can use the drone to get the photos that they need. 

HVAC professionals send drones in with a thermal camera so they can see where a leak is coming from. When making movies, the filmmakers will secure expensive cameras to drones and send them up to get unique and interesting shots. The possibilities are endless. 

Drones for Smaller Areas

These drones are for recreational use only because they’re so tiny. They don’t have any of the commercial functions that other drones do. You may be able to attach a camera to this device, but that’s about all you can do. 

Due to their size, they’re also relatively lightweight, so it’s hard to keep them stable enough to take a proper photo. Still, your children will get a kick out of owning one, and they’re not that expensive. 

Tactical Drones 

Tactical drones are used by the US military. They don’t have that many features to speak of, making them easy for soldiers to operate without needing a lot of training to do so. 

They’re one of the smaller units that the military has access to. They’re mostly sent out for surveillance purposes. They have an infrared camera that allows them to capture accurate images of an area. 

Microdrones

You can use microdrones recreationally, but they’re a bit too small to do anything extravagant with them. For the most part, they’ve found use in the military. 

They’re perfect for inspecting buildings, and their tiny cameras can gather some pretty good intel. Some microdrones have an infrared camera built-in, but not all of them have this handy feature. 

Due to their size, they only have a range of about a mile, and their battery can last up to 25-30 minutes on a single charge. 

Reconnaissance Drones

You can’t carry a reconnaissance drone. They’re about 16 feet long and weigh well over 2000 pounds. Like the last few drones that we’ve mentioned, these are for military use. 

Their primary function is recon and they’re used pretty much all over the world. Most of them can last a little over 50 hours. The exception is the German model. It’s cheaper than some of the other versions of this drone, but it needs to charge a lot sooner. 

Large Combat Drones

Even larger than the reconnaissance drone is the combat drone. Some of them can reach lengths of over 30 feet long. They have a range of about 1000 miles and can last for 14 hours or so without needing a charge. 

They can fire laser-guided bombs and air-to-surface missiles. These drones are used in countries all over the world. They’re not exclusive to the US. 

Photography Drones

Stepping away from the military-grade drones, let’s talk about photography. As you’ve most likely noticed, there are plenty of drones out there that you can use to take pictures. In fact, most of them have this feature built-in. 

The problem is that the quality of the camera isn’t always the best unless you buy a drone with this feature in mind. Most of these models come with a high-quality professional camera. 

They also have amazing stabilization features that make it easier to keep your drone balanced and avoid blurry pictures. As you can imagine, these drones are mostly used by professional photographers and commercial businesses. 

GPS Drone

GPS drones connect to satellites, so the device knows exactly where it’s located at all times. You can use them to map out an area. They’re expensive, but they’re not a bad choice for beginners.

Some of them even have a return to home feature. If they happen to go out of range or begin to run out of power, they’re programmed to go back to their home destination. 

Since the GPS allows them to stay fixed to a single point, they can hover in one position in the air. Even heavy wind won’t make them budge. 

They have a flight log that you can reference. This is helpful for keeping up with how your drone is performing, and it can also assist you in locating your device if you crash or lose it. 

Besides the price, the other problem with GPS drones is that they use up a lot of power. You may want to invest in a few extra batteries if you pick one of these drones up. 

Racing Drone

Racing drones are ideal for hobbyists. They can reach high speeds, but the drawback is that they aren’t meant for flights. Well, not long flights anyway. 

Their primary use is racing, so they don’t need to last long. You can get a durable and fast racing drone for a few hundred dollars. Use to, the only way you could get one of these drones was to buy a kit and build the device yourself

As time has gone on and drone racing has become more popular, RTF models and FPV racing drones have entered the market. We’ll get into to what these types of drones are a bit later. For now, let’s move on to foldable drones. 

Foldable Drones 

Foldable drones are amazing for vacationers. They’ll fold up and fit right into your suitcase with your clothes. Most of them come with a camera that you can use to get some unique shots of your vacation destination. 

You will need to look into the laws of the country that you plan to take the drone to. They’re not legal in all corners of the world. Taking a drone to one of these locations could result in jail time or serious legal fees. 

In some states, you’ll need a license to fly your drone. The only exception is smaller models such as the DJI Mini 2

Selfie Drones 

Selfie drones are also great for vacations. Many of them have follow-me features that allow them to hover over you and take pictures.

These drones aren’t only good for selfies. You can use them to take family photos without leaving anyone out. Some of them operate remotely, so you won’t even have to bother with a controller. 

FPV Drones

FPV stands for first-person view. Instead of watching your drone float through the air, you’ll be staring at a screen or looking through a pair of VR goggles. Using one creates a uniquely immersive experience that you can’t get out of any other drone on the market. 

They’re built for precision, which makes them great for navigating through 3D courses, in the case of racing drones. These drones aren’t the best for beginners. The reason being is that it’s easy to get tunnel vision. 

What we mean is that when you’re busy staring into a pair of goggles or looking at a screen, you may not notice obstacles or other people until it’s too late. 

RTF Drones

RTF drones are also known as ready-to-fly drones. These models are good to go as soon as you take them out of the box for the most part. You may have to charge them first and install the propellers, but that’s about it. 

The extra convenience drives the price up, but they’re great for beginners because they’re simple to use. 

Familiarize Yourself With the Different Types of Drones 

No matter if you want to take pictures or zip your drone around your yard, there’s a device for everyone’s needs. Having all these different types of drones to choose from can make picking one a bit difficult. 

We hope that this guide has cleared things up a little and made buying your first drone easier. To learn more about drones and their various uses, visit the Technology section of our blog. 

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